Many organizations today place a great deal of importance and reliance on data. Therefore, the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) is growing increasingly valuable for a number of companies — especially those in regulated industries.
This particular C-suite executive is generally responsible for the company’s data and information strategy, control, governance and operational utilization. In most cases, the CDO is also assigned policy development duties.
The CDO combines accountability and responsibility for data security, quality, life cycle management and the usage of data to ensure business value. Additional duties include but are not limited to: reducing the cost of data management; improving the way the company collects, exploits, manages and publishes the data; ensuring that data is available, accessible, dependable, consistent and protected; enhancing data quality; arranging and regulating data models; linking various data sets; measuring data quality; and leading the enterprise-wide data working group.
Of course, responsibilities will vary depending on the industry and specific needs of a company.
Typically, the CDO plays a collaborative role within the company. He or she will partner with IT leaders to make sure that there are no incompatible activities within the data, and that the most effective data analytics insights are available and accessible across the company. The CDO will also work closely with key shareholders and personnel, perhaps serving as an advisor when it comes to data usage and how it can enhance business performance and strategy. Finally, this executive collaborates with (and leads a team of staff within) the Data and Analytics department.
When hiring a Chief Data Officer, there are specific skills and qualifications that an employer must consider. Firstly, communication and leadership skills are of the utmost importance. Interpersonal and analytical skills are required, as well. A CDO candidate must be proficient in Microsoft software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Regarding education requirements, employers are generally looking for candidates with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, Data Science, Analytics or Information Management Systems. There may also be other related fields that employers might consider.
Experience is imperative. In many cases, an employer prefers candidates with at least 10 years in the Data Science field. They must also have experience developing and managing data science organizations and expressing data analytics value. Employers often prefer consulting experience with senior business leaders and executives.
Due to the growing importance of the Chief Data Officer, employers are likely to meticulously screen each candidate in order to hire the most qualified applicant. Considering the value a CDO could add to an organization, such screening is necessary.